> Date: Fri, 06 Mar 1998 19:12:08 -0500 (EST) > From: ATHOS27 <ATHOS27@aol.com> > To: aRomero@ACC.FAU.EDU, email@example.com > Subject: my dreams > > hello, my name is Trina Corlione and I have dreamed of studying marine mammals > since I was a child. I have an Associate's Degree in Science from Henry Ford > Community College. What steps would you suggest that I take to increase my > chances for a successful career in Marine Biology. > My ultimate goal is to observe whales in their natural habitat. I want to get > into the research aspect of the field, I have a passion for these animals > that I cannot explain. I realize that you are extremely busy, I can really > use the advice. Dear Trina: The first thing that you need to understand is that in order to become a marine biologist you need to become a scientist. That means that you will spend most of your time reading, writing, studying, with very little of observing whales in their natural environment. I do not want to discourage anyone from being what I am, a professional scientist, but for more than 20 years I have been approached by many who believe that the life of a marine biologist is like the life of Cousteau or some other celebrity. Nothing farther from the truth. If all what you want to do is to observe these animals in their natural environment, you need to search in your soul what you really want to accomplish in life. Hopefully a stable profession will enable you to watch whales as a tourist in many places around the world. But if what you really want to be is a marine biologist, you must know that that is one of the specialties with the largest contingencies of unemployed biologists: it is just very popular and jobs are scarce. As simple as that. If you still want to joint the group of people like me that, no matter what the difficulties, still want to be a marine biologist, here is my advice. You should first complete your bachelors' degree in biology and try to do it in some college that offers courses not only in marine biology but also in marine mammals and related areas such as comparative anatomy of vertebrates, ecology, animal behavior, etc. Try to take as many courses that offer field experience as possible and make sure that at least one of the faculty in that college does work on marine mammals so you may have the opportunity to learn, first hand, the trade. Then head for graduate school with a more precise idea of what you want to do: study their behavior?, ecology? May be you want to go rather to a Vet school and see the opportunities for working in aquariums... Or may be you want to become a microbiologist and deal with the increasing problem of whales and dolphins dying of infectious diseases. Time will tell. Best wishs and good luck. Aldemaro Romero, Ph.D.